Eggplant Ricotta Grilled Cheese
- 1 medium eggplant (12 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 black pepper
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (5 ounces)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 4 slices whole wheat bread
- California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil, for grilling
- Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Cut eggplant into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat mat and brush with California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil. Spread eggplant slices on the oiled baking sheet in a single layer, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, flipping eggplant slices over half way through. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat a Panini press or large skillet to medium high. In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, parmesan and fresh basil. Drizzle California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil on one side of each bread slice.
- Assemble sandwiches: Spread the plain side of each bread slice with 1/4 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top two bread slices with roasted eggplant each, then set remaining bread slices on top, cheese side down. Grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes in a Panini press (or 2-3 minutes on each side if using a skillet), until bread is toasted and sandwich is warmed through. Slice in half and serve immediately.
Editor’s Note: This sandwich is a perfect way to enjoy many of your favorite roasted vegetables. Try swapping the eggplant for any combination of roasted zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, or carrots.